Sports Couple barred from adopting
A COUPLE seeking to adopt a child claim that politically correct social
workers have rejected them because of their love for dogs and countryside
sports, including shooting.
Martin and Shirley Phipps from Upstreet, Nr Canterbury keep three
Labradors, chickens, a rabbit and two ferrets, and enjoy country sports,
including fishing and shooting. The couple are comfortably off - Mr
Phipps works as an Agricultural Stores Manager - and felt that they
would be ideally placed to offer a home to one of the thousands of
children in the UK in need of adoption. However, after two years,
the verdict from a Kent Social Services says that the couple are unsuitable
Mr Phipps said the social workers were against us from the start
because we have dogs and I own guns for which I have a firearms
certificate. They dont understand the country way.
The tragedy is that we could offer a loving and stable home
and a wonderful country upbringing to a child. Whatever reasons we
have been given for our rejection, we believe it is down to our lifestyle.
The couple first applied to adopt a child in August 1998. During one
meeting at that time, Mr Phipps said he enjoyed shooting and had three
dogs, a social worker said she didnt know what the policy was
on either matter.
It became clear however, during subsequent discussions and visits
from social workers that concerns were being expressed about the couples
Mr Phipps said that when one senior social worker came to their home
in 1999, she threw her arms in the air and said, Oh no, dogs!
Dont go near.
Mr Phipps claims that the same social worker suggested that if they
wished to adopt they should find homes for two of the dogs.
Kent Social Services denied that the Phipps had been rejected because
of their guns and dogs. Peter Gilroy, Director of Kent Social Services
said, the couple were unwilling to consider any child who had
been through any trauma or had any form of disability. The panel decided
that they would not be able to meet the needs of the children we have
available for adoption. Its nothing to do with their ownership
of guns or dogs. There were delays because we wanted to be as fair
to the couple as possible.
The Phipps MP, Julian Brazier, is a leading adoption reform
campaigner. Mr Brazier said: There are 54,000 children in care,
of whom about half could easily be adopted. Every time a family is
turned down for politically correct reasons, it means that another
child is left in care and denied the chance of long-term stability.